Old Jun 4, 16, 9:15 pm
  #18  
hauteboy
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Austin, TX -- AA PLT 2.8MM+ (life PLT); IHG PLT Ambassador; UA Gold
Posts: 5,432
May 26, 2016
Flight: Funafuti, Tuvalu (FUN) to Suva, Fiji (SUV); Fiji Airways Econ ATR72-600
Flight: Suva, Fiji (SUV) to Nadi, Fiji (NAN); Fiji Airways Econ ATR72-600
Hotel: Capricorn Hotel; Nadi, Fiji

Couldn't sleep very well last night, too much beer after the kava or jetlag finally kicking in. So I tossed and turned most of the night. About 6AM I got out of bed and went for a walk down to the runway. The police were practicing marching with bayonets. Not much else going on this early so back to the hotel for a bit.




After breakfast, Liz brought over some people from Radio Tuvalu to interview us about our travel! So I'll be slightly famous in Tuvalu if and when it airs. About 9:30 we walked down to the airport to check-in for the flight. All very informal, you get a handwritten boarding pass with a seat number sticker. Then stamped out of Tuvalu and we walked back to the hotel! So good news I had a boarding pass and would be leaving Tuvalu on time, and the weather looked good today. I had already checked out but sat around in the shade for a bit. About 11:30 or so we went back to the airport and sat in the open-air terminal. Started talking with a guy from our hotel who had been working in Tuvalu for a few weeks. I asked about the prison on the other side of the runway, apparently they only have 1 permanent resident, in for manslaughter.



Checked in

About 20 minutes before the plane arrives, the fire engine shows up and runs up and down the runway sounding the siren, warning everyone to get off the runway and get across the road while they can. We saw the plane off in the distance when the fire engine did a second run for the two-minute warning. The plane came in for a very loud landing, the terminal is just a few dozens of meters away from the runway. We went to wait in the 'departure lounge' area while the passengers deplaned.




Yay, plane is here

One of the passengers getting on the flight was a cute blonde girl, hadn't seen her around the island and wondered where she had stayed. Peter noticed a bag she was carrying said 'Expedition 196' and we started chatting with her. Cassie is going for the female record of the fastest to visit every country and had already been to 115 or so just since last July! She was just doing a turnaround in Tuvalu and was going to be on my flight to Nauru tomorrow. She had a method to validate her record, with GPS logger, passport stamps, two separate photos, etc. We chatted awhile on the flight back to Suva. She had come from New York via Dominican Republic and Christmas Island (Kiribati) and from Nadi on a bus the evening before.


The three travelers

On arrival in Suva we had a several hour layover before the flight to Nadi. Quick immigration into Suva, it's quite a small airport. My seatmate from the inbound flight to Tuvalu was there and said the Nadi flight was oversold! It wasn't yet open for checkin anyway so we went to the cafe for a bit. Had no problems checking in later though for our flight.

In Nadi we said our goodbyes to Peter, who was heading to Tonga this evening, his last country in the South Pacific before going back to Norway on Saturday via Sydney and Dubai. Whew, a long flight. I caught a taxi (15 FJD) to the Capricorn International Hotel. Nothing swish but I'd only be there a few hrs as Nauru flight departed at 5AM! It turns out Google Maps had my hotel in the wrong location, but it actually turned out better as it ended up being just across the street from a restaurant where I had dinner on my 2014 visit. There was now a Burger King across the street and prices had gone up a little. But pretty decent Indian food overall. Back at the hotel I asked about shuttles, then said 3AM but they said I'd need a taxi. The room was odd, the whole front wall was glass with a curtain that made it difficult to open/close the door without people seeing you weren't in the room.
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